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Meaning of “Cobbler, Stick to Your Last!” phrase of Idiom, definition and synonyms use in sentence.

Cobbler, Stick to Your Last!

“Ne supra crepldam suitor judlcaret.” (Confine your judgment to your shoemaking.) (Pliny, xxxv. X, 85.)

This phrase is generally used to convey the idea that man-kind is compartmented in its knowledge, and that a man should express opinions on those matters only which he has specially studied. A doctor specialises in medicine and anatomy; a soldier in the science and art of war; an architect is an expert in construction, and a mariner in the problems of navigation; while a politician and a theologian address themselves to questions of civic administration and the moral order.

Pliny’s phrase is from a story of Apelles, a famous Greek painter (c. 330 B.C.), who used it to reproach a shoemaker, who had criticised a sandal in one of his pictures (the Greek kepis meaning, originally, a soldier’s sandal, and not a “last”). When the “cobbler” began to criticise the leg, Apelles said, in colloquial words: “Stick to the shoe, old chap!” In other words, “You are getting out of your depth!”

Hazlitt says: “The title of ultracrepidarian critics has been given to those persons who find fault with small and insignificant details” (Table Talk). Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher, once said that “many ministers of the Gospel are good tailors and shoemakers spoiled “; but not all handicraftsmen are necessarily ignorant of the higher “humanities,” for more than one despised son of toil, in the world’s history, has revolutionised thought and founded a new philosophy. Nevertheless, though the root of the phrase is generally true, there is a “range of criticism where all are equally judges, and where Crispin is entitled to dictate to Apelles” (Ensyclop. Brit., Art: : ” Romance”).


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